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Coimbatore

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Coimbatore
கோயம்புத்தூர்
Kovai
—  City  —
Nickname(s): Manchester of South India, Cotton City
Coimbatore is located in Tamil Nadu
Coimbatore
 
Coordinates: 11°1′6″N 76°58′21″ECoordinates11°1′6″N 76°58′21″E
Country India
State Tamil Nadu
District Coimbatore
Government
 • Mayor S. M. Velusamy
Area
 • City 246.75 km2 (95.27 sq mi)
Elevation 411.2 m (1,349.1 ft)
Population (2001)[1][2][3]
 • City 1,250,446
 • Density 10,052/km2 (26,030/sq mi)
 • Metro[4][5] 2,151,466
Languages
 • Official Tamil
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 641001
Telephone code 91-(0)422
Vehicle registration TN 37, TN 38 and TN 66
Website www.coimbatore-corporation.com
Area Note 1: The pre expansion area of city limits was 105.6 sq.km. The 2010 expansion order added 12 local bodies and increased the total area to 265.36 sq.km. However in 2011, three of the local bodies were dropped from the expansion and two more added instead. Those removed were - Vellalore(16.64 sq.km), Chinniampalayam (9.27 sq.km) andPerur (6.40sq.km). Those added were - Vellakinar(9.20) and Chennavedampatti (4.5). So the actual area post expansion is 246.75 sq. km.[1][3][6][7]

Population Note 1: The census 2011 data is available only for pre expansion city limits.[8] For the expanded city limits only 2001 census data is available. Pre expansion the population was 930882.[3] After the 2010 expansion GO, the population became 1262122.[3] But after the small changes mentioned in the previous note were made, the 2001 population figure was 1250446.[1][2] However the 2011 census data for the urban agglomeration is available and has been provided.[8]

Coimbatore (pronounced [kɔəjmbaːʈɔrɪ]), also known as Kovaipronounced [kɔʋaːəj] ( listen)), is the second largest city [9][10][11] in the Indian stateof Tamil Nadu and the 15th largest urban agglomeration in India with a metropolitan population of over 2 million.[12] It is a major commercial centre and has often been referred to as the "Manchester of South India".

The Coimbatore region has been ruled by the Cheras, the Cholas, the later Pandyas, the Vijayanagar Empire and the Madurai Nayaks and is believed to have been named after a chieftain called Kovan. In the 17th century, the city became a part of the Kingdom of Mysore and remained so until its conquest by the British East India Company in 1799. The history of modern Coimbatore, however, dates from the 1930s, when the city grew rapidly capitalizing on a textile boom. Since then, the city has witnessed steady growth fueled by its favourable soil, climate and political and economic conditions.

Coimbatore is administered by the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation which comprises 100 wards grouped into five zones. It is situated on the banks of the Noyyal River in western Tamil Nadu and is surrounded by the Western Ghats on all sides. It is well connected by roadrail and airwith major towns and cities in India.

Coimbatore is an important textile and manufacturing hub of Tamil Nadu. Other important industries include software services, education and healthcare. Coimbatore has been ranked 4th among Indian cities in investment climate by a survey done by the Confederation of Indian Industry(CII).[13] The city has been ranked at No. 17 among the top global outsourcing cities in a study by Tholons.[14]

Etymology

[edit]

One theory for the city's name states that the name is a derivation of Koyanputhur (lit. new town of Koyan), chieftain Kovan or Koyan, who ruled region around the city. Kovanpudur or Koyanputhur evolved and became Koyambuthur or Koyamuthur; it was anglicized as Coimbatore. Another suggested etymology involves the Dravidian root āru 'river' (DED 4233).[15] Yet another theory states that the name could have been derived fromKoniamman after the goddess whose temple is situated in the city.[citation needed] Henry Whitehead in his Village Gods of South India (1921) states that the goddess worshiped by Koyan came to be called as Koyanamma which evolved into Kovaiamma and later Koniamma.[16]

[edit]History

The Sugarcane Breeding Institute at Coimbatore, 1927
Sunset across a Tank, Coimbatore, 1905

The region around Coimbatore was ruled by Sangam Cheras and it served as the eastern entrance to thePalakkad Gap, the principal trade route between the west coast and Tamil Nadu.[17] The Kossar tribementioned in the second century CE Tamil epic Silappathikaram and other poems in Sangam literature is associated with the Coimbatore region (Kongu Nadu).[18] Large numbers of Roman coins and other artifacts have been unearthed around Coimbatore, indicating the region's ties with Roman traders. The Coimbatore region is in the middle of the "Roman trail" that extended from Muziris to Arikamedu.[19][20] The medieval Cholas conquered the Kongu Nadu in the 10th century CE. A Chola highway called "Rajakesari Peruvazhi" ran through the region.[21][22] Much of Tamil Nadu came under the rule of the Vijayanagara Empire by the 15th century. The Vijayanagara reign brought new settlers from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In the 1550s, the military governors (Madurai Nayaks) of the Vijaynagara Empire took control of the region. After the Vijayanagara Empire fell in the 17th century, the Madurai Nayaks established their state as an independent kingdom, with other Vijayanagar offshoots forming new kingdoms in VelloreTanjoreGingeeChandragiri and Mysore. The Nayaks introduced the Palayakkarar system under which Kongu nadu region was divided into 24 Palayams.[23]

In the later part of the 18th century, the Coimbatore region came under the Kingdom of Mysore,following a series of wars with the Madurai Nayak Dynasty.When part of Kingdom of Mysore the region was under the administration of Hyder Ali and later Tipu Sultan of Mysore. After defeating Tipu Sultan in the Anglo-Mysore Wars, the British East India Company annexed Coimbatore to the Madras Presidency in 1799. The Coimbatore region played a prominent role in the Second Poligar War (1801) when it was the area of operations of Dheeran Chinnamalai.[24] In 1865, Coimbatore was established as the capital of the newly formed Coimbatore district and in 1866 it was accorded the municipality status.[25] Sir Robert Stanes became the first Chairman of the Coimbatore City Council.[26] Industrialization of the region begin in 1888 and continued into the 20th century. The region was hard hit during the Great Famine of 1876–78 resulting in nearly 200,000 famine related fatalities. On February 8, 1900 an earthquake struck Coimbatore damaging many buildings. The first three decades of the 20th century, saw nearly 20,000 plague related deaths and an acute water shortage.[27][28] The city experienced a textile boom in 1920s and 1930s due to the decline of the Cotton industry in Mumbai.[29] The region played a significant role in theIndian independence movement.[30] Post independence, Coimbatore has seen rapid growth due to industrialization. In 1981, Coimbatore was constituted as a corporation.[31]

[edit]Geography

The Western Ghats along the Palakad-Coimbatore National Highway

Coimbatore is situated in the west of Tamil Nadu, bordering the state of Kerala. It is surrounded by the Western Ghats mountain range on the West and North, with reserve forests and the (Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve) on the northern side.[32] The Noyyal River runs through Coimbatore and forms the southern boundary of the corporation.[33][34] The city sits amidst Noyyal's basin area and has an extensive tank system fed by the river and rainwater.[35] The eight major tanks / wetland areas of Coimbatore are - SinganallurValankulam, Ukkadam Periyakulam, Selvampathy, Narasampathi, Krishnampathi, Selvachinthamani, and Kumaraswami tanks.[36] Sanganur pallam, Kovilmedu pallam, Vilankurichi-Singanallur Pallam, Karperayan Koil pallam, Railway feeder roadside drain, Tiruchy-Singanallur Check drain and Ganapathy pallam are some of the streams that drain the city.[33][37]

The eastern side of the Coimbatore district, including the city is predominantly dry. The entire western and northern part of the district borders theWestern Ghats with the Nilgiri biosphere as well as the Anaimalai and Munnar ranges. A western pass to Kerala, popularly referred to as thePalghat Gap provides its boundary. Because of its close proximity to the Western Ghats, the district is rich in fauna. The Coimbatore urban wetlands harbours around 116 species of birds. Of these, 66 are resident, 17 are migratory and 33 are local migrants.[38] Spot-billed Pelican, Painted Stork, Open Billed Stork, Ibis, Spot-billed Duck, Teal, Black Winged Stilt are some of the migratory birds that visit Coimbatore wetlands regularly.[32]

Apart from the species common to the plains, wild elephantswild boars leopardstigers, bison, various species of deer, Nilgiri Tahrsloth bear andblack-headed Oriole can also be found.[39] The Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary 88 km (55 mi) in the Western Ghats at an altitude of 1,400 meters covers an area of 958 km². Among the region’s livestock animals are Kangeyam bulls. This breed, which helped the region gain a foothold in the dairy industry, are found only in Coimbatore and neighbouring districts[citation needed]. More than 20% of the district is classified as forest, lying in the west and north. The forests here are abundant in commercially significant trees such as teaksandalwoodrosewood and bamboo. The Nilgirisslope of the Mettupalayam range is rich in sandalwood trees and bamboo. They vary from rich tropical evergreen forests of Punachi range to jungles of shrubs in southern ranges. Apart from the high altitude regions of Western Ghats, most of the forest area has come under Lantanainvasion. The locals refer to it as Siriki Chedi.

[edit]Climate

Coimbatore has a pleasant, salubrious climate due to its proximity to thickly forested mountain ranges and the cool breeze blowing through the Palghat gap which makes the consistently hot temperatures more pleasant.[33] Under the Köppen climate classification, the city has a tropical wet and dry climate, with the wet season being from October to December due to the northeast monsoon. Coimbatore is located at an elevation of about 411 meters.[32] The mean maximum and minimum temperatures varies between 35 °C (95 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F).[40] highest temperature ever recorded is 41 °C (106 °F) and lowest is 12 °C (54 °F).[41]

Due to the presence of the mountain pass, more elevated parts of the district benefit from the south-west monsoon in the months from June to August. After a warm, humid September, the main monsoon starts from October lasting till early November. These monsoons are brought about by the retreating monsoon. The average annual rainfall is around 700 mm with the North East and the South West monsoons contributing to 47% and 28% respectively to the total rainfall.[40] This rainfall is not enough to sustain the needs of the city for the entire year and the shortage is made up through water supply schemes like Siruvani, Pilloor and Athikadavu.[42][43]

The soil is predominantly black, which is suitable for cotton cultivation, but some red loamy soil is also found. Coimbatore falls under the Class III/IV Seismic Zone, having experienced a 6.0Richter scale earthquake in 1900.[44]

Demographics

[edit]

Gopuram (tower) of Perur Patteeswarar temple

As per the 2001 census,[48] Coimbatore had a population of 1,250,446 within Municipal Corporation limits.[1][2][3]The 2011 census data for post-expansion city limits is not available and only the population of urban agglomeration is available - 2,151,466.[4] In the urban agglomeration, males constitute 50.08% of the population and females 49.92%. Coimbatore has an average literacy rate of 89.23%, higher than the national average of 74.04%. Male literacy is 93.17% and female literacy is 85.3% with 8.9% of the population under 6 years of age. The Sex ratio was 964 females per 1000 males.[4] In 2005, the crime rate in the city was 265.9 per 100,000 people, accounting for 1.2% of all crimes reported in major cities in India. It ranked 21st among 35 major cities in India in the incidence of crimes.[49] In 2011, the population density in the city was 10,052 per km² (26,035 per mi²).[8]

The native language spoken in the Coimbatore city is Tamil. The city's population is predominantly Hindu, along with small group of Muslim[50]population. ChristiansSikhs and Jains are also present in small numbers.[2][51][52] Coimbatore also has a large number ofTelugus,[53]Malayalis,[54][55][56] mainly from Palakkad and North Indians,[57] mainly Gujaratis,[58] who are engaged in trade and commerce. During the 1970s the city witnessed a population explosion as a result of migration fueled by increased economic growth and job opportunities.[47][59]Around 33% of the city's population lives in slums.[33]

A view of CSI Church and LIC building,Ukkadam Periyakulam lake is in the foreground

[edit]Administration

Corporation officials
Mayor
S. M. Velusamy[60]
Deputy Mayor
S. Leelavathi Unni[61]
Commissioner
T.K.Ponnusamy[62]

Coimbatore is a Municipal corporation as well as the headquarters of the Coimbatore District. The city is divided into five administrative zones – East, West, North, South and Central, each further subdivided into 20 wards.[63] Each ward is represented by a councilor who is elected by direct election. Councilors from each zone also elect a Zonal Ward Committee Chairman and most importantly the Deputy Mayor through their numbers . The mayor is elected by the city's voters directly (During 2006- 2011, the Mayor was elected through indirect election). The executive wing of the corporation is headed by a Corporation Commissioner. The corporation runs and maintains basic services like water, sewage and roads.[64][65] In the last local body elections in 2011, AIADMK won majority of the council seats and AIADMK's S.M.Velusamy became Coimbatore's mayor.[66] The District itself is administered by the District Collector. The District court is the highest court of appeal in Coimbatore. The Police force in the city is headed by a Commissioner and there are 18 Police stations in the city.[67]

[edit]Suburbs of Coimbatore

Windmills for Electricity Generation in suburbs of Coimbatore

A large part of the Coimbatore urban agglomeration falls outside the Municipal corporation limits.[68] These suburbs are governed by local bodies called Village Panchayats and Town Panchayats.[69] Besides the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation, the Coimbatore UA comprises the Town Panchayats:Vellalur , IrugurSulurPallapalayamKannampalayamVeerapandiPeriyanaickenpalayamNarasimhanaickenpalayamIdikaraiVedapattiPerur,KuniyamuthurMadukkaraiEttimadaiDhaliyurThondamuthurThirumalayampalayamOthakalmandapamChettipalayamAlanthuraiPooluvapatti,ThenkaraiKarumathampattiSarcarsamakulamMopperipalayam and Gudalur; Census Towns : AshokapuramKurudampalayamMalumichampatti,Perur ChettipalayamPattanamChinniampalayamSomayampalayamMuthugundun PudurArasurKaniyur and Neelambur.[5] These local bodies are in turn split into wards each electing a councilor through direct election. The head of the local body – known as President for the Panchayats[70]– is elected by the councilors from among their number.[65]

[edit]Politics

Coimbatore elects five members to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and one member to the Indian Parliament. The five legislative assembly constituencies in the city are Coimbatore NorthCoimbatore SouthKaundampalayamSinganallur and Sulur. All five are part of the Coimbatore Parliamentary Constituency. Till 2009, there were only four assembly constituencies in Coimbatore - Coimbatore EastCoimbatore West, Singanallur, and Perur. Also about 20% of the urban agglomeration came under the Nilgiris constituency which runs into the northern part of the city and about 10% came under the Pollachi (Lok Sabha constituency). In the last Lok Sabha election held in 2009, Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) candidate won in the Coimbatore Lok Sabha constituency.[71] In the last legislative assembly election held in 2011, the ADMK led front won in all five assembly constituencies.[72]

[edit]Economy

With more than 25,000 small, medium and large industries, the city's primary industries are engineering and textiles. Coimbatore is called the "Manchester of South India" due to its extensivetextile industry, fed by the surrounding cotton fields.[73][74] The district also houses the country's largest amount of hosiery and poultry industries[citation needed]. The city has two special economic zones (SEZ), the Coimbatore Hi-Tech Infrastructure (CHIL) SEZ and the Coimbatore TIDEL park, and at least five more SEZs are in the pipeline.[75][76][77] As of 2005, when Tirupur was a part of Coimbatore district, Coimbatore was the highest revenue earning district in Tamil Nadu.[78] In 2010, Coimbatore ranked 15th in the list of most competitive (by business environment) Indiancities.[79]

An insignificant little town prone to droughts and earthquakes till the early years of the 20th century, Coimbatore experienced a textile boom in the 1920s and 1930s.[29] Though, Robert Staneshad established Coimbatore's first textile mills as early as the late 19th century, it was during this period that Coimbatore emerged as a prominent industrial centre. Narayanaswamy Naidu's Dhandayuthapani Foundry, D. Balasundaram Naidu's Textool, the Lakshmi Machine Works, the Kalleeswara Mills and the Somasundra Mills are some of the important textile and machine units which emerged during the early 1900s.[80]

A wind farm outside the city limits.
Coimbatore Tidel Park
Coimbatore Trade Centre

Coimbatore has trade associations like CODISSIA, COINDIA, SITRA and COJEWEL representing industries in the city. Coimbatore also has a 160,000 square feet (15,000 m2) trade fair ground, built in 1999. It was named COINTEC due to its hosting of INTEC (Small Industries Exhibition). The Trade Fair complex, one of the country's largest, was built in six months, and is owned by CODISSIA (Coimbatore District Small Industries Association).[81] It is also the country's largest pillar-free hall, according to the Limca Book of Records.[82]

Coimbatore houses a large number of small and medium textile mills. It also has central textile research institutes like the Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR)- Southern Regional station and the Sardar Vallabhai Patel International School of Textiles and Management. The South Indian Textiles Research Association (SITRA) is also based in Coimbatore. The city also houses two of the Centers Of Excellences (COE) for technical textiles proposed by Government of India, namely Meditech, a medical textile research centre based at SITRA, and InduTech based in PSG College of Engineering and Technology.[83] The neighbouring city of Tirupur is home to some of Asia’s largest garment manufacturing companies, exporting hosiery clothes worth more than INR 50,000 million.

The city is the second largest software producer in Tamil Nadu, next only to Chennai. IT and BPO industry in the city has grown greatly with the launch of TIDEL park and other planned IT parks in and around the city. It is ranked at 17th among the global outsourcing cities.[14] Companies like Tata Consultancy ServicesCognizant Technology SolutionsIBMRobert Bosch GmbHCameron International CorporationTata ElxsiDell, Aditi Technologies, CSS Corp and KGISL having a presence in the city. Coimbatore is already the second largest hub in India for Cognizant Technology Solutions as it employs around 5000 people in its Coimbatore centre and is planning to double its capacity here.[84] Software exports stood at INR 710.66 Crores (7.1 billion) for the financial year 2009-10 up 90% from the previous year.[85]

Coimbatore has a large and a diversified manufacturing sector facilitated by the presence of research institutes like Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, SITRA and large number of engineering colleges producing about 50,000 engineers.[86] Some of the prominent industries in Coimbatore include L&T, BOSCH, PSG, Sakthi group, Lakshmi Machine Works (LMW), Premier Instruments & Control Limited (PRICOL), Premier Evolvics, Janatics, LGB, Revathi Equipment Ltd, ELGI Equipments, Craftsman Automation Pvt Ltd, Shanthi Gears, Roots Industries. Wind Energy major Suzlonhas set up a foundry & machine shop in Coimbatore. Along with it Hansen Transmission, a Belgian Company which manufactures gearboxes for windmills is setting up a plant here with an investment of INR940 cr.[87]

Manufacturing of automotive components is also important to Coimbatore's economy. Maruti Udyog and Tata Motors source up to 30% of their automotive components from Coimbatore. Some of the auto component makers in Coimbatore include Robert Bosch GmbH, PRICOL and Roots Industries. Coimbatore has more than 700 wet grinder manufacturers with a monthly output As of March 2005 of 75,000 units[88] and is home to a common facility for the manufacturers of wet grinders.[89] Coimbatore motor and pump manufacturing industry supplies over 40% of India’s requirements.[13]

Coimbatore is one of the major gold jewellery manufacturing hubs in India, renowned for making cast jewellery and machine made jewellery is also a major diamond cutting centre in South India. .[90][91][92][93] The city is home to about 3000 jewellery manufacturing companies and to over 40,000 goldsmiths.[94][95] The city is home to about 3000 jewellery manufacturing companies and to over 40,000 goldsmiths[96] and have an active association called Coimbatore Jewellery Manufacturers' Association, and Coimbatore Gem and Jewellery Industries Private Limited (Cojewel), which is a common facility with niche goldsmith machinery to be used by the members of the association. Kirtilal's of Coimbatore have their manufacturing base in Coimbatore. Owing to the presence of a large number of jewellery manufacturers and the strong engineering base, the city is home to a number of companies manufacturing jewellery making machinery.

Coimbatore has some of the oldest flour mills in India like India Roller Flour Mills and Coimbatore Roller Flour Mills among others. The large scale flour mills, which cater to all the southern states, have a combined grinding capacity of more than 50,000 MT per month. In the recent years, the city has seen growth in the hospitality industry with more upscale hotels being set up like Vivanta by Taj (Old Surya International), Hilton Garden Inn and Le Meridien, four star hotels like Aloft and several three star hotels .[97][98][99][100][101]

Coimbatore is the largest non-metro city for e-commerce in South India[102]

[edit]Culture

Coimbatore and its people have a reputation for entrepreneurship.[103][104] Though it is generally considered a traditional city, Coimbatore is more diverse and cosmopolitan than all other cities in Tamil Nadu except for Chennai.[57][103] The city conducts its own music festival every year.[105] Art, dance and music concerts are held annually during the months of September and December (Tamil calendar month - Margazhi) at Rajalakshmi Fine Arts.[106] The heavy industrialisation of the city has also resulted in the growth of trade unions.[107] There are numerous temples in and around the city including the Perur Patteeswarar Temple, Konniamman temple, Thandu Mariamman temple, Vazhai Thottathu Ayyan temple, Echanaari Ganesh temple, Karamadai temple,Marudamalai Murugan temple,Panchamuga Anjaneya Temple(Hanuman with 5 Faces) and the Dhyanalinga Yogic Temple.[108] The Mariamman festivals, at the city’s numerous Amman temples, are major events in summer.[109] The mosques on Oppanakara Street and Big Bazaar Street date back to the period of Hyder Ali.[110] Christian missions date back to 1647 when permission was granted by the Nayak rulers to set up a small church in Karumathampatti 12 km (7.5 mi). It was destroyed by Tipu Sultan’s army resulting in a new church in 1804. In 1886, Coimbatore was constituted as a diocese after bifurcating with PondicherrySikh Gurudwaras and Jain Temples are also present in Coimbatore.

From 1940s to 70s the city was generally peaceful without any communal or caste clashes.[107] Indira Gandhi's assassination in 1984 was followed by large scale arson and looting targeted at businesses owned by North Indians (particularly Sikhs).[111][112] During the 1980s crime increased, Hindu – Muslim riots were frequent in the late 80’s and 90's reaching their peak in 1997 when a large scale riot occurred in the Townhall and West Coimbatore area.[113] It was followed by the 1998 bomb blasts.[114] After 2000, Crime rate in Coimbatore dropped making it one of the largest cities in India with a low crime rate.[115][116]

[edit]Cuisine

Coimbatore is known for the Annapoorna Gowrishankar chain of vegetarian restaurants

Coimbatore cuisine is predominantly south Indian with rice as its base. However, the population of Coimbatore is multi-cultural due to the influx of migrant population from various regions of the country. Most locals still retain their rural flavour, with many restaurants serving food over a banana leafNorth IndianChinese and continental cuisines are also available. Mysorepa (a sweet made from lentil flour and ghee), idlydosaHalwa (a sweet made of different ingredients like milk, wheat, rice) and vada-sambar and biryani are popular among the locals. Some popular restaurant brands such as AnnapoornaSri Krishna Sweets originated in Coimbatore.

[edit]Sports and recreation

A typical raceday scene at Kari Motor Speedway

Motor sports plays a large part in the city, with Coimbatore often referred to as the "Motor sports Capital of India" and the "Backyard of Indian Motorsports".[117] Some wealthy industrialists, such as S.Karivardhan, spearheaded motor racing, making Coimbatore the country's motor racing hub when he designed and built entry level racecars. The city has a Formula 3 Category circuit and few Go-Kart circuits, formula cars manufacturers and FIA member motorsport associations that condustc National Championship races and Rallies. National Champion races for Formula racing (Cars), Motorcycle racingGo-Kart racing are held in Kari Motor Speedway.[118] The tyre manufacturer MRF assembles and builds Formula Ford cars in Coimbatore in association with former F3 ChampionJ.Anand.[119] Super Speeds designs and constructs almost all Formula cars. Rallying is another major event with all teams based in Coimbatore. Rallies are conducted in closed roads around Coimbatore districts. Narain Karthikeyan, Indias most famous driver, became the first Indian to enter Formula One in 2005. Other famous motorsport personalities from Coimbatore are J. Anand, N. Leela Krishnan and V. R. Naren Kumar.[120]

VOC Park

Nehru Stadium, built originally for football, can also host athletic meets. The stadium is undergoing a renovation with Korean grass in the centre and a synthetic track around it for athletics.[121] Apart from the stadium, the city also has several sports clubs. The Coimbatore Golf Club[122] is home to a major 18-hole golf course. The Coimbatore Cosmopolitan Club, which is more than 100 years old,[123] was founded for Indian members only, in response to the English Coimbatore Club which did not admit Indians until the 1950s. The Coimbatore Flying Club is located in the Coimbatore airport premises.[124] The prominent tennis player Nirupama Vaidyanathan hails from Coimbatore.[125]

Coimbatore also houses a number of museums and art galleries like G.D. Naidu Museum & Industrial Exhibition, H A Gass Forest Museum, Government Museum, Kadhi Gandhi Gallery and Kasthuri Srinivasan Art Gallery and Textile Museum.[126][127][128][129] A science park and a planetarium is being built near Codissia trade fair complex and will be inaugurated by May 2012.[130]

Cormorant and Egrets in Singanallur Lake

There are several nature and amusement parks in and around the city. Maharaja Theme Park is located within the city and the surrounding foothills of Western Ghats have parks like Nilgiri Biosphere Nature Park, Black Thunder water theme park, Covai Kondattam amusement park, Veega Land Coimbatore and Jolly World.[131] Since the 1980s, the city has had about 10 small to medium sized shopping malls like Cheran towers and Lakshmi Complex.[132] The city's first mega mall - Brookfield Plaza started functioning in 2011.[133] The city also has a number of parks including VOC park, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University park Race Course children's park and Bharathi park. Coimbatore Zoo houses a number of animals and birds and is located near VOC park.[134] Singanallur lake is also a popular tourist and bird watcher destination.[135] Though there are a lot of entertainment centres mushrooming in the city, visiting the cinema still remains the city's most popular recreational activity.[136]

[edit]Education

Centenary block of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

Coimbatore is an educational hub of the region. As of 2010, the Coimbatore district is home to 7 universities, 54 engineering colleges, 2 medical colleges, 35 polytechnics Colleges and more than 70 Arts and Science Colleges and a large number of schools.[137][138][139] The city has reputed state owned universities like Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (est. 1971), Bharathiar University (1982), Anna University Coimbatore (2007) and private universities likeAvinashilingam University (1987), Amrita University (2003), Karunya University (2004) and Karpagam University (2005). The city also houses research institutes like Central Institute for Cotton Research, Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Institute for Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education and Tamil Nadu Institute of Urban Studies.[140] There are also plans to establish a "world class" university in the region and to convert the Government Arts College into a unitary type university.[141][142]

The first college opened in Coimbatore was the Government Arts College (1875–76).[143] The Forest College and Research Institute was opened in 1916. The first engineering college in the city was started by G.D. Naidu as the Arthur Hope College of Technology in 1945. Later it became the Government College of Technology, CoimbatorePSG College of Technology was established later in 1951. The Air Force Administrative College was established in 1949 to train Indian Air Force personnel. Coimbatore Institute of Technology (CIT) was started in the 1950s. Coimbatore Medical College was opened in 1966 and the Government law collegestarted functioning from 1978. The agricultural school established in 1868 was converted into a full fledged agricultural university (Tamil Nadu Agricultural University) in 1971 and the Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History was opened in 1990. Several private engineering and arts & science colleges were started during the education boom in the 1990s.

In 1867, the first group of students appeared for the SSLC Examinations from Coimbatore. The earliest educational institutions established in the city are C.S.I. Boys High School (1831), St. Michael's Higher Secondary School (1860), Stanes Anglo Indian Higher School (1862), St. Francis Anglo Indian Girls High School (1880), Sarvajana High School (1910) and Suburban Higher Secondary School (1917). Presently there are three types of schools in Coimbatore - 1) government run schools (corporation schools) 2) schools funded by the government but run by private trusts (aided schools) and 3) schools funded and administered by private trusts. They are classified as Tamil Nadu Anglo Indian School Board, Tamil Nadu State BoardMatriculation and CBSE schools according to the syllabus taught in them. The Coimbatore Education District (not the same as the revenue district) is the unit of administration for education in the city. In 2010, the number of students who wrote the SSLC (Standard 10) and Higher Secondary (Standard 12) examinations was both around 30,000.[144][145] The literacy rate in the city is 80%.[33]

[edit]Media and communication

Four major English newspapers The Hindu,The Times of IndiaDeccan Chronicle and The New Indian Express bring out editions from the city. Business Line, a business newspaper also brings out a Coimbatore edition. Tamil newspapers which have Coimbatore editions include Dina MalarDina ThanthiDina ManiDinakaran (all morning newspapers) and Tamil Murasu and Malai Malar(both evening newspapers). Two Malayalam newspapers – Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi also have considerable circulation in the city.

A Medium wave radio station is operated by All India Radio, with most programs in Tamil, English and Hindi. Five FM radio stations operate from Coimbatore - Rainbow FM from All India Radio,Suryan FM[146] from Sun Network,[147] Radio Mirchi,[148] Radio City, and Hello FM.[149][150] All these private radio stations air exclusively Tamil based programs, including film music. The range of these stations cover Coimbatore, Erode and Nilgiri districts of Tamil Nadu and Palakkad and Wayanad districts of Kerala. Television relay started in 1985 from Delhi Doordarshan. In 1986, after inception of a repeater tower at Kodaikanal, telecast from Madras Doordarshan commenced. The people of Coimbatore witnessed the 1980 Olympics and 1983 Cricket World Cup on a giant screen in VOC Park when the city-based UMS developed a dish antenna for satellite signal reception. Currently television reception is through DTH or by cable, while Doordarshan reception is still available using an external antenna. In 2005, Doordarshan opened its studio in Coimbatore.[151]

Coimbatore has a well connected communications infrastructure. Till the 1990s the state owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was the only telecommunition service provider in the city. In the 1990s, private telecom companies too started offering their services. Currently besides BSNL, fixed line telephone services are offered by Reliance Communications and Bharti Airtel. Dial up internet connections were first introduced (by HCL and BPL) in 1996 and broadband internet (by BSNL) in 2005. As of 2010, BSNL, Reliance Communications, Bharti Airtel, Tata Teleservices all offer broadband service through fixed lines and mobiles;MTS offers mobile broadband alone.[152] Cellular telephony was first introduced in 1997.[153] Coimbatore is the headquarters of the Tamil Nadu circle of cellular service providers. The telecom company Aircel is headquartered in the city.[154] Mobile telephone services available in the city include both CDMA and GSM connections.

Coimbatore is home to some of the oldest film studios in South India. Swamikannu Vincent, a film exhibitor, set up the first movie studios in the city.[155] Rangaswamy Naidu established theCentral Studios in 1935 while S. M. Sriramulu Naidu set up the Pakshiraja Studios in 1945.[156]

[edit]Healthcare

The size of the Coimbatore health care industry has been estimated as INR1500 Crore (150 million) in 2010.[157] There are nearly 750 hospitals in and around Coimbatore with a capacity of 5000 beds.[158] The first health care centre in the city was started in 1909. In 1969, it was upgraded to Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH). It is a government run hospital with a bed strength of 1020 and provides free health care.[159] Including the CMCH, corporation maintains 16 dispensaries and 2 maternity homes.[33] The city also has many large multi-facility private hospitals like the PSG Hospitals, Kovai Medical Center and Hospital(KMCH), KG Hospital, Coimbatore Kidney Centre, G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital, Sri Ramakrishna Hospital, Sheela Hospital, Kongunad Hospital, Gem Hospital, Ganga Hospital, Aravind Eye Hospital, Sankara Netralaya,Lotus Eye Hospital, Ashwin hospital, Vikram ENT hospital, Coimbatore Cancer Foundation, G.P.Hospital, Diabetes Care and Research Centre. The city is also a major centre for medical tourism.[157][160][161] The city remains the preferred healthcare destination for people from nearby districts and also from the neighbouring state of Kerala.[162]

[edit]Transport

[edit]Air

The city is served by the Coimbatore International Airport at Peelamedu 11 km (6.8 mi) from the city and an air-force base at Sulur 23 km (14 mi). The Coimbatore International Airport caters to domestic flights to major Indian cities like Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkatta and Mumbai and international flights to Sharjah and Singapore. Its runway is 9,760 feet (2,970 m) in length and is capable of handling wide-bodied and “fat-bellied” aircraft used for international flights.[163]

[edit]Rail

Coimbatore junction

Train service in Coimbatore started in 1852, upon construction of the Podanur - Madras line connecting Kerala and the west coast with the rest of India.[33] Broad gauge trains connect Coimbatore to all parts of India and Tamil Nadu. Meter gauge line existed between Podanur and Dindigul got closed on May 2009 and is under gauge conversion. The Coimbatore Junction is well connected to major Indian cities like Chennai, Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Howrah, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Rajkot, Indore, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Kanpur and Patna. It is second highest revenue yielding station in the Southern Railway division of Indian Railways. The Coimbatore Junction comes under the Jurisdiction of the Salem Division and contributes 43.5% of its divisional income. This is the second largest income generating station in Southern Railway after Chennai Coimbatore North Junction is another important railway junction in the city apart from Coimbatore Junction and Podanur Junction. The other stations include PeelameduSinganallur,IrugurPerianaikanpalayamMadukkarai, Somanur and Sulur.

In addition, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway that goes up to the hill station or mountain resort at Ooty has its lower terminus at Mettupalayam, a town very near Coimbatore.

[edit]Road

Mettupalayam Road Bus Stand
Avinashi Road, as seen from PSG Tech over bridge

There are seven major arterial roads in the city: Avinashi road, Trichy road, Satyamangalam road, Mettupalayam road, Pallakad road, Pollachi and Marudhamalai road. There are three National Highways passing through the city: NH-47NH-67 and NH 209.Apart from state and National Highways, the city corporation maintains a 635.32 km long road network.[33] Coimbatore has several major bus stands. The town buses (intra-city) operate from the Town Bus Stand in Gandhipuram to other bus stations across the city. Inter-city buses that connect Coimbatore operate from five different bus stands: Gandhipuram Bus Stand (for buses going to East and North East to ErodeGobichettipalayamTirupurKarurSalemSathyamangalam and surrounding areas), Singanallur Bus Stand (for buses to MaduraiTrichy and the towns around them), Thiruvalluvar or SETC Bus Stand at Gandhipuram (for Express buses to Other states and also within Tamil Nadu), Ukkadam Bus Stand (for buses to PalakkadPalaniPollachi and Udumalpet and other nearby places) and Mettupalayam Road Bus stand for buses going toward Mettupalayam and Ooty,[164][165][166][167] as well as buses operated by theKarnataka State Road Transport Corporation.[168] Apart from these the Omni Bus Stand in Sathy Road, Gandhipuram caters to private bus operators.[169]

The city has a very high vehicle-to-population ratio. Town buses started operations in 1921. Town bus services serve most parts of the city, as well as other towns and villages in the district. Buses also connect the district with all major towns in Tamil NaduKeralaKarnatakaPondicherry and Andhra Pradesh. The number of inter-city routes operated by Coimbatore division is 119 with a fleet of more than 500 buses.[170] A large number of intra-city private buses operate within the city. The number of intra city buses in the city is around 800 in 228 different routes.[171] The city is also served by auto rickshaws. The growth of Call Taxi Service is also on the rise.

[edit]Environmental issues

Main shopping area, Cross Cut road in Gandhipuram

Air pollution, lack of proper waste management infrastructure and degradation of water bodies are the major environmental issues in Coimbatore. Steel foundries were established in 1950s and 1960s when there were no residential areas nearby, but growth of the city led to creation of residential areas around them.[citation needed] In 1990s the State Government and pollution control board took major steps to re-locate the steel foundries out of the city.[citation needed] The textile mills are all equipped with air treatment towers.[citation needed] Coimbatore has no proper underground drainage or sewage system. There is a sewage treatment plant at Ukkadam in operation with the capacity to process 70 mld of sewage water of which 20 mld is the current treating level.[172][173] Garbage is collected by the Corporation[174] and sometimes by systems developed by the local residents. Sewage is pumped into the water tanks and the Noyyal through streams. This along with garbage dumping and encroachments has led to degradation of the water bodies and depletion in the groundwater table.[175][176][177] During the 80’s, corporation planned on closing the tanks due to encroachment by filling them with waste.[citation needed] But as a result of outcries from civic associations, the plan was dropped.[citation needed] Currently the tanks are being renovated by the city's environmental groups with their own fund-raising and the corporation.[178][179] Siruthuli,[180] an environmental organisation founded by the city's industrial houses, undertakes de-silting of tanks and cleaning of the Noyyal river.[181] The corporation is also taking efforts to clear encroachment of the tanks.[182][183]

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